Tags archives: November

An Evening with Petra Dancers

Tabi basa & greetings family & friends,

How was your day? Today I want to talk about dance in Sarawak. Throughout the history of Sarawak, dance is one of the important aspect of its cultural development, where most of the indigenous peoples has their own dance, derived from nature. For example, Rejang / Langgi for Bidayuh peoples are inspired by the movements of eagle in the sky. Ngajat, a warrior dance for Iban people and most of Orang Ulu’s dance is also derived from the graceful movement of hornbill, signifying the close relationship of these peoples with nature. Long time ago, the life of Sarawakian peoples was built in such way that it is in balance with nature, because it was based on preservation of life. For a start, for newcomers, it is good to see them in action at Sarawak Cultural Village at Santubong to know the brief summary of Sarawak’s rich culture.

Pak Bek (fourth from right) and his dancers

I myself had personally involved with dances when I was still in tertiary education, and had a good down-memory-lane whenever I see traditional dancers performing. Yesterday I had a chance to see Petra dancers in action, led by Mr Awang Harabi, or famously known Pak Bek.

Petra Dancers Story

Petra Dancers was founded in 1991, which makes them 28 years old this year. That gave them a lot of experiences especially in the dancing arena of Sarawakian culture. They can dance all kind of traditional dancers of Sarawak peoples, including Iban, Bidayuh, Orang Ulu, Melanau, Malay, Chinese or even Indian people’s dances. They one they performed yesterday was Iban’s Ngajat, Orang Ulu’s Kanjet Ngeleput, Bidayuh’s Rejang Beuh, Malay’s Joget Melati, and finally a group dance.

In terms of dancing experiences, they have performed all around the nation, including Brunei and have been representing Sarawak in the international level. They have a different kind of dancers category as well, with the one that we had yesterday was the junior to give them more exposure. For more challenging events, the seniors will go and perform.

In total, they have around 40 active members, with 3 assistant leader, namely Suharto, Kartini and Roberto. For big events, they will collaborate with dance groups from all around Malaysia, or Sarawak to make it bigger due to limitation of manpower and trainers. E.g. during Sarawak Day celebration, where there is a lot of dancers required.

They have their own studio at Wisma Ung Hwa Geok, Lot 418, Tingkat 1, Jalan Kulas Utara Dua, 93400 Kuching, which is the studio that they build at their own initiative without government support as they also runs bridal company, under Petra Bridal.

The current challenge that they face include the other group of dancers because customer tends to find a cheap but with quality dancers. It is a perpetual challenge, but with their reputation, they have little difficulty in that.

Pak Bek also emphasises on the well-being of the dancers, where for every performance, they will be covered their logistics, food and payment. Every week there is a performance, but it will be paid lump sum the end of the month.

Training schedule per week is on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 8.30 – 10.30pm, 2 hours per day. That is the commitment required from every dancers in Petra dancers.

Pak Bek hopes to maintain cultural diversity through their works and wishes that every dancers has the discipline to remain focused so that they can achieve whatever they want, be it winning an international award or just to be a good dancer.  

Should anyone interested to join them, you may call 0168689226 to enlist yourself and dance.

Gear used: Leica M Monochrom and Noctilux 50.

Your Tukang Rantek,
Claudius Weson

Note: Claudius Weson is a tukang rantek (photographer) based in Miri, mainly doing portraiture (indoor / studio / outdoor photoshoot), weddings and event photography.

© Claudius Weson Photography (2019). All rights reserved.

Copyright Notice

All of the images on this site are protected by copyright laws and are the exclusive property of Claudius Weson Photography. Images may not be copied, reproduced, manipulated, used or altered in any way without written permission. The use of any photography as the basis of another photographic concept or illustration is a violation of copyright.

Simbuk’s Ninety-first Birthday

Dear family and friends, 

How is your week? I hope you are doing well. The weather seems to be a bit crazy recently, with raining season coming, causing traffic jam here and there. By the way, I have a question for you. Have you ever imagine what you will do when you are older? Have you ever thought of who you want to be when you are older?

For me, it is simple. I want to be able to be able to do what I love most when I am older, which is to capture the moments with my loved ones, regardless of my age. I know some of my friend like Marvin who wants to be able to lift even when he is older, unlimited by age. People like Sifu Yong wants to rock his R1 all along the corner when he is older.

However, my simbuk (grandmother in Bidayuh Siburan) is happily enjoying her life with her grandchildren, which we celebrate last Monday. It was a simple celebration, with less than half of her descendants coming, but the joyful season can be felt.

Birthday girl and great grandchilren choirs are ready.

As usual, prayer is led by my uncle who is a catechist, followed by the usual cake-cutting and photo-session with her grandchildren. It is not easy to gather the kids around, but it is normal when you are managing them. You will get used to it.

Photo with some of the great grand children.
Runaway Baby Shark

Simbuk, just like any other normal Bidayuh woman, lives a simple life. She lives stress-free, and just focus on the essentials of life. She has done her hustle, and now her children is taking care of her. Compared to modern lifestyle, where we sacrifice a lot, especially times with our loved ones, to buy a lot of stuff to impress the people that doesn’t matter in our life. No wonder the pressure level sky-rockets in the recent years.

Just like any other community in Sarawak, for Bidayuh people, family institution is core of society. You can’t be an island, because there will be a time when you are falling down, and needs help.

Acquaintance, colleagues and  friends come and gone, but your family (and true friend) stays. Therefore, cherish them in your life. May your life is be blessed like Simbuk’s.

Your Tukang Rantek,
Claudius Weson

Gear used: Leica M Monochrom and Summilux 35 FLE.

Note: Claudius Weson is a tukang rantek (photographer) based in Miri, mainly doing portraiture (indoor / studio / outdoor photoshoot), weddings and event photography.

© Claudius Weson Photography (2019). All rights reserved.

Copyright Notice

All of the images on this site are protected by copyright laws and are the exclusive property of Claudius Weson Photography. Images may not be copied, reproduced, manipulated, used or altered in any way without written permission. The use of any photography as the basis of another photographic concept or illustration is a violation of copyright.

Nothing Is Permanent

Tabi basa and greetings dear family and friends, 

Today is Monday, yet another working day for most of us, but it is school holiday for students and teachers, and off-day for me. So enjoy the time with your family and friends. Having the time for myself once again, it triggered something in me – “nothing is permanent”

Awah Gawai Bi-Pichin. Lenge Kiburan is hiding behind the low-lying clouds

What is Permanent?  

Permanent is lasting, continuing, and endures the test of time. In Malay, it is “kekal”. When we say something is permanent, it is there probably until the end of time. When is the end of time? Time is moving forward, one second at a time. Permanent stuff is not going to go any time soon, therefore it is permanent.

Nothing Is Permanent

This is the fact of life. As glorious as the mountains or the continents itself, or even the ancient great structures like pyramids or temples, it is still subject to impermanence. Why? It can’t run away from weathers and act of God. An earth quake can shake a structure and bring it down to some meaningless ruin. A typhoon can blow houses and turn it into smithereens.

In times of trouble and great distress, many would seek solace and comfort from the Almighty God.

So is our life. If you read the ancient texts, or even Bible, the peoples in the past lives a ridiculously long life, few hundreds years old, with the oldest one in the Bible is 969 years old, Methuselah. However, modern humans only live in average 79 years old. If you want to live longer, live like the older Japanese peoples, they live in simplicity. The Japanese salarymen lifestyle not what I recommend though. They put a lot of emphasis to their career, such that their body has to pay the price, where I am referring to death from work, “karoshi”. However, I am pretty sure not many want to live that kind of lifestyle.

Pre-wedding Photoshoot Spotted

In the end of the day, we work to live, to put money on the table.

Walk Down Memory Lane

The Little Ones Won’t Stay Little

This is another realisation that I get. Long time ago, I am not sure why people spend so much money on buy film camera, because I can’t afford it. I was thinking, that money better be spent on  something useful, such as revision books, stationeries and food. Having limited resources forces you to stick with the essentials only, and invest where it is really required. As the result, I grew up with little or no pictures of my school days, except when our teacher collect some money to rent film camera for school project. 

High on “milk”

Back then, if I miss my school crush from another village, during school holiday I have to visit my friend that has her picture to have a look at her face. I kind of like it, because it gives less distraction for me to focus on my study.

As I grow older, I have the access to VGA phone camera. It is like a blind man having the ability to see for the first time in forever. I took a lot of pictures. My cousin is the model of that time. He’s still a baby, so he can’t say no. Take pictures of all time, all the moments. Most of the pictures are embarrassing, so I will not show it. 

What I am showing here is the new generation of Wesons. This is the time when I have access into the best camera in the world, Leica. Being best is subjective, one can’t be a winner in everyone’s heart. But for me, Leica is still the best because it optics is unparalleled. The user experience is priceless. You can’t put a price tag in that feeling. The happiest time is when I see through the viewfinder to aim at my subject. It is bliss.

Anyway, these little ones won’t stay little forever. They will grow up eventually. Before you know it, they will be going to school, graduate and fell in love with someone who will be part of your new family.

Create Memories

One of the best way to live our life to the fullest is to acknowledge our mortality, and make the best out of it. Create more memories together. Capture the images and cherish it while you still can. If you want to be immortal, create something so good that people will talk about it even after you are no longer around on the surface of this Earth. Images will stay on, even if the people inside it is gone. Don’t listen to others on what kind of image that you should take. What’s important for you may not be what’s important for them.

When Empire Strikes Back
The lovely super duper Sajek

That is how you can stay permanent, and granting immortality to those inside the images.

60s Picture

Keep on shooting!

Your Tukang Rantek,
Claudius Weson

Note: Claudius Weson is a tukang rantek (photographer) based in Miri, mainly doing portraiture (indoor / studio / outdoor photoshoot), weddings and event photography.

© Claudius Weson Photography (2019). All rights reserved.

Copyright Notice

All of the images on this site are protected by copyright laws and are the exclusive property of Claudius Weson Photography. Images may not be copied, reproduced, manipulated, used or altered in any way without written permission. The use of any photography as the basis of another photographic concept or illustration is a violation of copyright.

Respecting Christian Graveyard & Photography Etiquette

Tabi basa and greetings family and friends,

How’s your week so far? I hope it is good, and all is well at your side. The All Saint’s Day and All Souls Day were celebrated by Christians on 1&2 Nov, but I think the one that get the most attention is All Hallow’s Eve, or Halloween, because it is the one that can be commercialised and celebrated at parties. However, for Pichins, we don’t celebrate Halloween and go to church instead on 1 Nov for All Saints’ Day mass.

Visiting Grave Yard on 2 Nov. I missed this year’s visit. Maybe next year then.

The following day is the day to visit graves. However, preparation is being made a week before, where villagers clears the graveyard from all of the weeds, or any infesting plants and some even redecorate the grave, especially the old ones that was deteriorating due to exposure to the UV and heat from sun and rain, and repeat.

Before talking about going to the grave, I want to brief you about the proper etiquette at a Christian Grave.

Proper Etiquette at Christian Graveyard

My sharing here is based on what I have practiced throughout years of living my life as a Christian (Roman Catholic) at Kpg Pichin, Serian. This applies if you were to do any business, or even photography job there.

  1. Don’t go there without permission, especially if you don’t know the relatives of the particular grave you are visiting. If you must go, do contact the head of the village. The best time to go is during All Souls’ Day on 2nd Nov every year. This is the best time to visit graves, where all of the relatives of the departed ones visit their grave. It is totally different story if you want to visit your late great-great grandmother’s grave to clean it. You and your relatives, or friends of your choosing can go there anytime you want. You have a specific job to carry out there.
  2. Don’t play around at Graveyard. It is not a playground. If you want to play, go visit LePapa, Serian. They have a playground outside.
  3. Dress appropriately. To be safe, just wear any non-revealing attires or even better, wear casual attire, just like how you want to visit your friends during Gawai, Kaamatan or even Raya. The best dress is the black or white, and non-colourful or cheerful themed dress.
  4. Don’t make noise or even play inappropriate music there. It is not a rock concert or a stage. The acceptable case is when everyone recite a prayer together or even singing hymns together during All Soul’s Day. For me, that is the best part of the 2nd Nov, to see my villagers pray and sing together at our beloveds final resting place; praying for them to demonstrate our love even though we are no longer occupying the same phase of life.
  5. Do not do inappropriate business at graveyard. For example, sleeping there to get lucky number (superstition), do photoshoot there with intention of getting viral, which is inappropriate and a sign of disrespect.
  6. Remember to take bath after you came back from graveyard, because you don’t want to bring back anything to your residence. You also need to clean your gears from the graveyard soils because of this reason.

Wedding Dress Photoshoot at Christian Graveyard, Batu Pahat

Recently I was shocked to see a viral post, showing a bunch of people went for a photoshoot at a Christian graveyard at Batu Pahat. Initially I thought they were related to them, or it was part of the recent All Souls’ Day celebration. I was wrong. They are not doing it as part of religious celebration, but they are doing it as per normal photoshoot to promote their latest wedding dress just like how any photographer treat any normal photoshoot venue. That’s the first red flag.

The second one is, they are not part of the community there, and I highly doubt that any of the community members of the departed ones were involved. The biggest red flag here is that they are disrespecting the grave.  I believe majority of non-Muslims do not have any intention of doing photoshoot at Muslim graveyard because we, Christians respect Muslim’s religion, culture and graveyard. However, this bunch of people have crossed the line. That’s why, many of the Christians all around Malaysia were infuriated.

I dig further, and I found that Harian Metro interviewed her, Nur Amirah Mohd Amiruddin, 26, the owner of the boutique. You can read it here. In that article, she said that she just want to do something different, and inspired by the photographers and models outside of Malaysia, which is understood as they have a lot of cultures. She also mentioned that she has no intention of being viralised when she first did this.

“Saya pilih lokasi itu kerana mahu mencari kelainan dan mahu lari daripada kebiasaan dengan mengambil inspirasi daripada luar negara. Tujuan saya memuat naik gambar berkenaan di FB adalah untuk suka-suka dan tiada niat langsung mempermainkan mana-mana agama,”

(Translation: I chose the location because I want to find something different and to go outside the from the norm by taking inspiration from outside Malaysia. My intention to upload the picture is for fun and has no intention to make fun or ridiculing any religion).

That is the statement that was being given when she was being interviewed by Harian Metro.

Why Is This A Big Thing and Makes A Lot of People Angry?

For Christian, graveyard is the final resting place for someone after they leave this world. It is where their body resides. For Christian, our body is the temple Holy Spirit and it should be treated with reverence or deep respect. Love that we have is stronger than death. That is why we visit graveyard every year, to remember the one that left us behind as their soul passes on to God.

From Chrissy’s Tweet. That is why she is furious. Don’t mess around with a Sarawakian lady.

When I was a small kid, and to many other Christians, we were being taught to RESPECT the graveyards. I remembered that my parents and grandparents told me to not play around at graveyard, it is not even a place to play, joke around or even horse play. Even when you need to be particular when you are sitting on the grave, because for us at Pichin, we shouldn’t CROSS a grave (melangkah). It is a big no no. For us, it is a huge sign of disrespect. For other graveyards, even the priests will come and bless the grave with holy water. Grave plays a vital role in a Christian faith, where it is a symbol of reverence or deep respect to our body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit as our soul passes on to God. Each steps should be taken carefully as we visit graves and when we want to visit our departed beloved’s grave. I do remember I had to be guided by my uncle as I find my way through the grave yard. Now that I am big, it is my turn to guide my niece and nephew as they grew older later on.

There is something disturbing about this photo. (From MummyQueen’s IG Story)

Also, they are using wedding dresses. Wedding is a sacred union between man and woman. It was unthinkable to do combine wedding-related items with graveyards. This is real life, not Hollywood. Not Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride. I am not sure what concept they are trying to do, but to trying to do whatever you see on TV at an actual graveyard is not a good idea. Whoever suggested the idea should be brought to justice.

The funny Tweet about the whole thing, including Photography class.

I am glad to see that even her fellow peoples, (Malay & Muslims) understands the level of respect that graveyard deserves and condemning the activities of these irresponsible peoples that disrespects the grave. Such action is indeed a disgrace to the Muslim community in Malaysia, because I know that majority of them respects the other religions.

It is a shame that the bad apples get the most publicity. Therefore, there is no need for you guys to apologise on behalf of your religion because it is not your fault. The one at fault is the one who does and involved with this photoshoot.

I think that if you are desperate to be famous, any way is a good way, even if it infuriates other peoples. I learned that her followers’ number skyrockets. But at what cost? Losing your pride? You don’t want to be remembered for the wrong reason, particularly an over-the-top venue of photoshoot. In this particular case, not only they are being lambasted in social media, but they are also being schooled and scolded by their own fellow Muslims. Such is the price to be paid.

I have been singing “Helena” for the longest time I can recall. When I saw this meme from Jacob, I had a good laugh. From Facebook: Jacob Eli

If someone does that to my great grandparents grave, I will find you. Other headhunters descendants are not so forgiving though. Just be glad that you don’t do it at Sarawak. Otherwise, I am not sure what will happen next.

Conclusion:

What I can say is, respect others, to earn respect from them. That’s the fundamental things to be learned from one another, especially if you are living in a multi-cultural country like Malaysia. Also, she had posted a live apology. If it is sincere, then may she gains peace. Otherwise, only God knows what’s next. I hope this post teaches you what do do next during your next visit to any Christian graveyard. There might be some difference, but fundamentally it is the same, where you should treat it with respect.

Let us treat each other with respect, and show each Malaysian the level of respect that we all deserve. Since she apologised already, let’s forgive them as Jesus’ teaches us to forgive one another just like how Father forgives us. Let’s close this book as there is benefit in harbouring hatred and move on, but let the lesson remains lest it is repeated. Have a good week ahead!

Your Tukang Rantek,
Claudius Weson

Note: Claudius Weson is a Pichin-born, tukang rantek (photographer) based in Miri, mainly doing portraiture (indoor / studio / outdoor photoshoot), weddings and event photography. 

Depression and Self-Liberation in Photography

Tabi basa and greetings family and friends,

In the recent times, often we heard, seen and read about depression. Before that, it is quite common for us to hear people talk about it and dis it as if it is a laughing matter. I am pretty sure you also have your experiences dealing with such negative emotions. I have not dealt with depression yet, and I am lying if I said I understand how it exactly feels.  

Crying Junior

Definition of Depression

From American Psychiatric Association’s website, depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affect how you feel, they way you feel and how you act. It can cause sadness and / or loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It also can lead into various emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.

The symptom includes:

  • Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Changes in appetite – weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Increased fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feeling worthless
  • Increase in purposeless activitiy
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

As you can see from the lists, it is quite severe, especially the thoughts of suicide. As you can see in the movie Joker, various mishappening in his life turns him into society-hating person, that stays in the shadows and unknown, and that is his greatest weapon against Batman in the future.

Don’t confuse depression and sadness or grief because the latter are a normal emotional cycle in human, but depression is not. Even if that person is living the ideal situation may even succumb to this, as they are facing a threat and hazard unseen to us – the price to be paid for fame. The more famous you are, the more important is the your emotional strength.

Talking about this, there are time where I feel so unmotivated for no particular reason, where I just feel like lying in my bed, listening to Fur Elise all day. I believe this is quite common, except it came in a different form or activities. I would imagine a singer would want to scream their lungs out at studio when they feel frustrated or depressed. Or runner, just ran until they are tired across the field.

Could there be a solution for this?  

Disclaimer: whatever that is written here is by no means absolute cure or prevention for depression. The words written following this are only the opinion of Claudius Weson, and should be taken as a layman's point of view, not a professional in field psychology.

Photography, Sense of Purpose & Self-Liberation

For me, this one is dealt with in a way that I treat photography as my main outlet to express myself, to tell the stories that I am unable to tell in words, and once I have done that, I express it in words. I like blogging, mainly because I can write things that I don’t get to talk in my everyday conversation. Not everyone that I know wants to talk to the level that I expect them to be. So, for me, I just keep it to myself, type it out here and post it. Who knows it might help someone out there.

I also have a passion in expressing myself, which is why I loved to join activities such as public speaking, debate, battle of the band and latest is photography and blogging.  Back then, adrenaline was running wild, unchecked, and therefore I have to channel it somewhere. Being heartbroken, rejected few times, I use that frustration to create songs, such as Dayung Salau, Buran, I Don’t Care and our Taruh Dari’s (3D) main song, Headhunters of Hornbill Land. Duirng that time, I thought that we can go on as a team. However, that honeymoon period did not last and we have to separate after we finished our schooling (I probably will write about that in a next post).

High-School Rocker

That is also why I come with my own brand, Tukang Rantek. Why? It makes me joyful inside when people call me Tukang Rantek, which makes me excited to go on day to day life. Back in my village also people started to call me Tukang Rantek, like yesterday when I go to church of Pichin, Holy Trinity Church.

The sense of purpose comes in the form of competing with myself. I have quit competing with everyone else because I don’t like where it is heading. Some people don’t mind sacrificing relationship just so that they can win extra job, extra medal, extra recognition and even extra acknowledgement. If that “extra” means I go home unsatisfied with my art, but expressing in the way I become a crowd-pleaser or even social media victim, I rather go without anything but being happy in whatever art that I create. If I am comparing myself to other person’s current state, I am insulting my own potential. Why? I can achieve so much more if I become my own ally, creating the art that pleases both myself and my inner self.

I also do acknowledge that my elders are getting older, therefore I decided to create as much image when I am back at my hometown because no amount of money or regret can give me back that opportunity once I have lost it. How many times have you thought about this in your own family?

Seize the day.

I am Award-less Photographer

Again, this is another source frustration, left unchecked, it can become another source of depression. For me, being a Leica user for few years already, it is not uncommon for me to dream about winning Leica Oskar Barnack Award (LOBA), the most prestigious award for Leica society. Only one photographer can win this award every year. What happens to the rest of the photographer if they don’t win any of it? Did they just lost their puspose in life? Of course not; different photographer has a different purpose. For me, I want to create the best image. I strive for this goal in whatever situation that I am in. In that sense, I have a purpose. I further define it to create the best image in whatever situation I am in, given the poor lighting condition, given the gear I am using. For me, using Noctilux would be too easy because I can just blow the background away thanks to its atomic bokeh and leaving the subject intact. That is why I use Summicron recently, be it the first or the latest one. I like to make it difficult for me to capture the image, so that I can learn to control my M better.

In my off day, I like to call myself family photojournalist, capturing the day-to-day actitvities of my family. Sounds trivial, but few years down the road, we will miss these times, the time when the little one is no longer little.

Whether you realise it or not, each photographer reflects their own personality and emotion in the images that they created. If you are sad, you tend to create an image of sad people, and if you are happy, you tend to create an image of happy people. Therefore, before any event, it is better for you to find a good reason to be happy. Due to the emotional load (dealing with peoples) and time constraint, not many wants to be a wedding photographer. But for those who loves all of those, they really thrive in it. That brings us to the next topic.  

How about Money?

This one is tricky because for some people, photography is the way for them to make money. If they can’t make money, they cannot provide necessities for their family. When that comes, whether they like it or not, they have to find another sources of income, trading hours for money, which is unsustainable.

Dio & Anis’s wedding reception.

From my conversation with some of the established photographers, they don’t rely solely on photography as their main source of income. They take commissions from every camera gears that they sold, they organise courses. Not surprisingly, Youtube is also part of their income, especially if you are creating a good, niche content. You also can always be part of the bigger community of  photography, where you can become the second photographer for their job, provided they want your assistance and they trust in your ability to assist them. 

Liberate Yourself From Bondage Called Expectation

Cat woman feeding cats

A self-explanatory topic, your true liberation comes when you are really, and genuinely do photography for yourself, when you are really doing it because you like it, because you love it and you don’t care about those superficial stuff that we are being fed constantly with. The amount of likes or shares won’t pay the bills. Don’t worry about your post that doesn’t even go viral. Don’t worry if you don’t have or won any award. Don’t worry if you are not making any money yet. Do what you like, create the images that make you happy, make memories and make images your life as much as possible and share it with the others. In the end of the day, all you want to achieve is that little joy when you look back at your harvest (images created) and can go to sleep soundly. For non-photographers, just focus on your art, be it writing, singing or playing in a band.

I hope this sharing is useful to you, and able to empower you. No matter how high you have reached, don’t forget your roots. Have a great week ahead!

Your Tukang Rantek,
Claudius Weson

Note: Claudius Weson is a Pichin-born tukang rantek (photographer) based in Miri, mainly doing portraiture (indoor / studio / outdoor photoshoot), weddings and event photography.

© Claudius Weson Photography (2019). All rights reserved.

Copyright Notice

All of the images on this site are protected by copyright laws and are the exclusive property of Claudius Weson Photography. Images may not be copied, reproduced, manipulated, used or altered in any way without written permission. The use of any photography as the basis of another photographic concept or illustration is a violation of copyright.

Jared’s First Birthday

Tabi basa and greeting family and friends,

How was your weekend? I hope it is great and awesome as it is supposed to be. Saturday, as usual, is a day of enjoyment, unless you made a conscious decision and declare that everyday is a time to enjoy. By right, any time spent on the face of the Earth is supposed to be a time to enjoy, rather than to confine it into one singular celebration.

For me, yesterday was the day of celebration, where we celebrate the birthday of our little Jared, who just clocked his first year upon his arrival to this plane last year. It was a simple celebration, but it was indeed more meaningful since it is the time for us gather as one big family, save for one that is quite a distance away from us.

Happy Birthday To You!

For me, birthday celebration is indeed a good way to say thank you to family and friends that has been supporting us in life. It is not something that we can do every day.

Jared and his grandfather.

Gears Used

For this celebration, I used Leica M10-P and Summilux 35 FLE. Reason for 35 mm is because I am working at tight space and have to make use of the wider angle to compose better. I can use 50mm but it would a bit too tight. A usual, for this kind of celebration, if you only have to use one lens, and one camera; a camera coupled with 35mm would be a good combination.

The used of medium-telephoto lens or telephoto lens is not encouraged unless you want to work at spot and avoid from walking around due to congested space.

Let There Be Light

In this job also I am using external light. Not because M10 can’t handle available light, but because I want to experiment with the lights.

Catechist Real in action. Yes, his name is Real.
With strobe, and “Datin” TJ.
Three boys. (Using Leica M10 & available light. Summilux 35 is good for this kind of job).
Aunties captured using available light.

For any room-lit environment, Leica can handle it without any problem, even if you are using the Elmar or Summaron family of lenses that has aparture higher than f/3.4. M10’s excellent ISO performance is good and high enough for you to use ISO as high as 10,000 without any problem, though I always keep mine as low as possible, usually 400, because I want to have my image as technically perfect as possible.

For my experience, Noctilux is my go-to lens for challenging events, because it is the King, King of the Light, or basically King of the  Night as it can capture as many photon of light as possible, without compromising the quality of the image. At the biggest aperture opening in modern Leica aspherical family of lens, it is indeed goes without a fight. The second contender is Summilux 50 FLE, that I believe many go for it instead. Though it was introduced in 2004, it is still a good lens as many Leica user is concerned. I even bought it as my first Leica lens, only to let it go to acquire the King of Light. 

Therefore, my take is, for event photography, the best go-to combination is 35-50, or if you have wider such as 24 or 21 (I would go for the latter), do add that in your lens bag. If you only have to go with one lens, go for 35 (the wider the better, I would recommend f/1.4).

Tukang Rantek Life Long Learning

To those who approached me about photography and if they intend to get serious, I would suggest to them to do an event first, and get hold of the experience first-hand before moving on the next discussion. For me, photography is more than just a sniper in the distance. It is one of the most important personnel in any event. My approach of doing my photography is to interact with the event-goers, and be part of them. Why? For me, if the photographer is having a bad time, it will be reflected in his expression, thus in a way, will affect the event goers. The negative vibe will propagate and it will make the event a bit less than it is should be. However, just imagine the photographer is a cheerful one, or the one with high energy, it will create and impact to the event-goers positively. Thus making the already good event even greater. For me, that is an accomplishment.  

Having said that, to each is their own, as photography job is like drawing on a piece of white canvas. The photographer can choose to be walking on the snow without leaving any footprint, or he can choose to make a snowman.

Have a good weekend!

Your Tukang Rantek,
Claudius Weson

Having fun on the Church’s floor.

Note: Claudius Weson is a tukang rantek (photographer) based in Miri, mainly doing portraiture (indoor / studio / outdoor photoshoot), weddings and event photography.

© Claudius Weson Photography (2019). All rights reserved.

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Tukang Rantek CiritaAseania Hornbill DancersLangkawi's Best Sarawak Dancers

I was born and raised in Sarawak, in a village called Pichin. Since my schooling days, I brought packed food, prepared with love by my mother from my kindergarten days until my Form 5 days. I don’t like canteen foods as I will have to spend additional money, energy and time to acquire one. Those schooling days were tough, and there is so much to be talked about, but there is one thing I really look forward to – Gawai time. During Gawai, Bidayuh peoples will gather at the long house, we call it “awah Gawai” to have a large gathering and be happy and merry. On the second day of Gawai, there will be the dances and rounds. For the first few years of my life, I took it for granted. But little did I know, it actually shaped me – forms and solidifies inside me as part of my identity and culture – a typical Bidayuh (that explains why I love to dance and sing, and “drink”).

Being away from home, I love to find something to connect to. Even the love of my life also a dancer (we knew each other for a long time, but grew closer as we prepare for a dancing competition, and we actually won it. It’s called International Cultural Festival 2011, organised by UTM Skudai. I can’t find the video, but its backstage video can be seen here.)

From my friend’s blog, Aziemah, I found few rare photos of me back in 2011.

Amin, Chris, Kama, Ajo, Map and I were doing the intro.

And… we won ICF’11 despite having technical difficulty with our audio system.

So when I travel to Langkawi for work purposes, during one of the dinner at Aseania, when there is a dance performance, I became excited. To make it even better, the dancers led by Shamsol Amy performed dance from Sarawak, and Sabah. At first I was skeptical, because usually the Sarawak dances performed outside of Sarawak and by non-Sarawakian is so-so. However, the performance by Aseania is quite good as well. The first thing that caught my attention was the music used. Balau oh Balau, the same music that we used in our performance! The dance moves captivates me and makes me interested to capture it in stills. Even before that, there was a magic performance as you can see below.

Magic Show

After the dancing performances, there was a pyro-works by Aseania staff as well. The pyroworks was amazing! I love it. I was busy with my camera throughout the performance to ensure that I captured it. Most of the interesting parts are captured here, for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

By the way, good job to Shamsol Amy and the team for the beautiful dance performances. Keep up the good work!

All images © Claudius Weson Photography (2018)

Tukang Rantek Nulis CiritaAndrea’s Moment of GloryUMS 20th Convocation

Four years is not a short period of time. It can define someone’s life. Within four years, from the most vulnerable creature on earth, a baby grows to become a question-totting creature, questioning everything under the sun with the newly-acquired language skills. Four years, can make or break someone’s career. For many Malaysian university-goers, four years is the usual time for any bachelor’s degree program. Once you have completed your degree, you will receive your scroll during the convocation ceremony. I call it Moment of Glory, after Scorpions’ epic song. We are born a champion, a triumphant one that has won a million-mile equivalent race at micro level.

How we define ourselves are not up to others, but up to ourselves’ very own definition of Glory. Your joy is not equivalent to others. Some is happy when they are able to get enough food, but some is unhappy no matter how much flowers they get during Valentine’s Day.

In the end, all that matters are your interpretation to your own worldview. I would suggest you pick a dream, and work on it until you are successful. If you can achieve it easily, that means your dream is too small. Make your dream so big, that you will grow to fill it with your own potential.

Make that moment one to be remembered. Just like how you want to graduate no matter what it takes for a better future, always remember the lessons learned throughout your journey in life. God bless. Congratulations to Andrea and all of the others UMS Graduates! It is indeed a glory to those who loves you, especially your parents, father and mother, as well as your loved one.

In the meantime, enjoy the images below, captured during the recent UMS Convocation.

 

All Images © Claudius Weson Photography.

Claudius Weson JourneyBalkizz’s Smartphone SymphonyProduct Photography Workshop with Smartphone

Greetings everyone. In this day and age, almost everyone from various walks of life owns a smartphone, owing largely to the benefits it has to offer, including but not limited to; cross-platform messaging apps such as WhatsApp Messenger,; social media such as Facebook, Instagram; video streaming apps such as Youtube, mobile internet browser and many more. There is so much computing power in a single device compared to the first computer introduced by IBM back in 1981, with computing power of 16kb. Even so, with that technology, NASA launched the very first Space Shuttle mission and launched 2 men to space. Therefore, just imagine, with so much power at your hand in a form of smartphone, what are you going to do about it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some might stick to use for basic usages, i.e. texting, calling, social media etc. I always believe that in each and everyone of us, there is an unlimited potentials, like diamond in the rough. Only those who brave it out and put considerable effort onto it will be able to reap the fruit. One of a good example is Balkizz Sulaiman. She is an entrepreneur, a fellow photographer specialised in product photography using smartphone as her main tool of trade and also an advertising coach. (Note: I also have wrote about smartphone photography here. Some of my photos captured using only iPhone 6 is also demonstrated here, though I love to use my Leica camera for all photography purposes, e.g. events, weddings, portraiture and outdoors).

I was honoured to be able to join her final workshop for 2018 at Miri Malay Association building, Sarawak today and started my whole new learnings on product photography that I never ventured before. Since I started this journey last year, I was not doing any product photography at all as I am doing street, events and wedding photography. In general, people’s photography. As I enter building, I empty my cup and open up for new learnings that Balkizz passionately taught us.

 

She started off with the story about herself, where she mentioned that before this she was working with an oil gas company until she realisation hits her. Specifically, at her cubicles, she was surrounded by senior peoples who work day in, and day out; doing the same thing over and over again until retirement. That actually woke her up, and she refused to do the things she has no passion at all about. On 2015, the worst year for oil and gas industry, where oil price hits the lower than $40/bbl by the end of the year. During that time also, many personnel were released from their jobs due. She saw this opportunity to leave, crossed the Rubicon and never looked back ever since.

She started with selling Jamu Tun Teja, but it was not flying high like she expected. Then, she realised something is not right. That is when she understands the power of photography to boost her sales. But, due to physical limitation, she cannot use a big camera like those of DSLRs and others, although she was using it when she starts photography. Therefore, she opts to use smartphone to create an appealing images. Smartphone photography is the best tool for these small business owners as it is the most versatile. She is determined to empower small business owners, particularly women who runs online business, because she understands their challenges to manage work, family as well as online business. Using smartphone is also for practicality as well since not all of these women owns a DSLR. In terms of learning curve, using smartphone camera is much easier to use compared to any other professional camera. She even went on to learn with professional Instagrammers and social media sifus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During this workshop, which is also participated by a participant from Brunei, she also gave an awareness to the participants the basic stuff, including cleanliness of the smartphone camera lens, basics in smartphone camera operations, software/apps to use (in this course, we use Snapseed) and image composition rules. Finally, it is time for practical session, where the rules mentioned before are made to be broken.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I find it interesting as many of the participants has their own creative sides, that was demonstrated during the practical session. The practical session lasted for an hour, to which we end with Q&A and finally group photo. As a wrap, this workshop it highly recommended to everyone who wish to learn more about product photography at an affordable price, especially if you are a woman doing online business. Even though I am doing freelance photography, there is a lot of learnings that I made from the workshop with Balkizz today, where the most important one is, follow your passion. Do the things that you are passionate about. For married couples, please do support your spouse, especially if he or she has a dream that she wants to achieve. In a way, that will make your bond stronger, and in return, you will have a better relationship. We rise not by putting others down, but by raising others up. That’s how we achieve excellence.

That’s all for now. Have a good weekend with your family and friends. Remember, immortalise your memories.

     

Claudius Weson JourneyAn Afternoon with Daphne IkingWorkshop Training by The Studio

Greetings friends, and I wish today is a good day to you. Speaking about Wednesday, what comes to your mind? Middle of the week? The day you can watch movie before its official release? Or the day where you can meet Daphne Iking? For me, it’s the third one.

Thanks to Wyomia and Tracy, I had an honour to attend a short emcee training session with Daphne Iking, one of Malaysia’s most sought-after professional emcee. Orang Sabah baini. For me, since I was born and raised watching national TV channels (cannot afford Astro back then), the one I remember most about Daphne is her work as Explorace host, which I used to watch a lot when I was in secondary school. She has a lively personality, and a truly friendly person, on-screen and off-screen.

If you were thinking that this is thinking of changing my direction of business, it is actually not really accurate as I am always running a mixed business. Apart from freelance photographer, I also a freelance emcee for hire, and sometimes sing for the event that I am hosting. Sometimes, I miss my old band, Taruh Dari (3D), where we always cover Muse songs such as Plug In Baby, Hysteria, Knight of Cydonia and Starlight. Recently, I am inclined to learn more about Freddie Mercury after watching his epic biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody. Anyway, the main objective for me to join this training session is to get myself exposed to the  people from the industry. In this case, Daphne is the right person to give advice from the industry, and she is truly down-to-earth person.

Today, we are also honoured to be part of The Studio’s history, where it is officially launched today. You can always contact them via Instagram, @oongid_butiza for your supply of essential oils.

Joining me in the training are like-minded persons like Fariza, Tracy, Priscilla, Irene (she drove all the way from Kuala Belait), Sue, Karen, Balkizz, Andy “Afgan”, Muz and Sabrina (our sole participant from Curtin University). As usual, Joe is charge of the media as he double-hats as photographer and videographer (and drone too).

Talking about the training, there is truly a lot you can learn from Daphne. She is very generous with her experiences, and she will do her best to answer all of our questions. She structured her session in such a way it is easy to be understood, regardless of your experience years in emcee job. I love how she explains the role of an emcee as the one-single person that make or break an event. One can almost tell that an event will be successful or not by observing the opening by an emcee. Such is the importance of an emcee. A good emcee should be able to command the crowd eloquently and keep the event true to its intention. She goes on to share her personal story througout her career as an emcee, and I think that is one of the thing that I would not hear elsewhere.

Despite all of the technical advises, it should be accompanied with due amount of practice, practice and more practice to perfect the art of emcee. Should you want to learn more about the art of Master of Ceremony, The Studio will be offering more courses in the future. So, stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy these photos captured during the event and like what Thorsten would say, “always wear a camera”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

End Note:

For me, everyone should have a dream, and pursue it. At least, if you cannot do something about it for now, talk to the person whom you would like to be in the future. They would give the advice to you, “Ask, and you shall receive” – Matt 7:7. Even if you cannot make a huge progress due to various reasons, e.g. you are working full time elsewhere or family-bound, take baby steps at one time. Most importantly, you are making a progress. If you wish to speak eloquently like Daphne, learn from her, and practice daily. If you want to create an amazing images, create images daily, and review, and create more images. The examples are endless, and all you need is some self-love, and pour it onto your dream. Don’t be your own dream killer, but be a dream chaser. God bless.